herald

Friday 6 December 2019

Traders are 'not being listened to' as city hit by 70pc parking hike

Parking charges will go up
Parking charges will go up

The decision to hike up parking charges by nearly 70pc will drive businesses and customers out of the city centre, consumer experts have warned.

From Monday, on-street charges will increase by more than 10pc, from €2.90 to €3.20, in an expanded yellow "very high demand" parking zone.

Those parking in an expanded red "high demand" zone will be paying even more as the hourly rate increases from €2.40 to €2.70, an increase of 12.5pc.

Due to the expansion of the red zone into the "medium demand" green zone, motorists who were paying €1.60 an hour to park on some suburban streets will now be paying €2.70 for the same time, an increase of 68.75pc.

Important

Consumer experts say there is no real justification for the price increase.

AA director of consumer affairs Conor Faughnan told the Herald that on-street parking was "extremely important" for the city.

"DCC (Dublin City Council) makes about €30m per annum from on-street parking, which is a very significant contribution from motorists," he said.

"They're now arguing that they need more. I have some sympathy that the local authority has a lot to do for its citizens, but I can't see that as a justification for taking more money out of motorists' pockets.

"The council ultimately does not want people driving into the city for their commute, but these spaces are extremely important for the commercial life of the city, particularly for traders and retailers."

Mr Faughnan added that city traders were not being listened to enough by council officials.

Conor Faughnan
Conor Faughnan

"As you push up the cost of parking, you put traders at a further competitive disadvantage to suburban shopping centres in places like in Dundrum or Blanchardstown," he said.

"I just don't think their concerns are being listened to."

An hourly fee of €1.40 will also apply to those parking from 2pm to 6pm in the white "high demand Sundays" zone - encompassing the O'Connell Street, Henry Street, Grafton Street and St Stephen's Green shopping areas.

The only concession will be for those with smartphones accessing the council's Parking Tag app, who will get a 10pc discount in the red and yellow zones.

Fianna Fail Dublin transport spokesperson John Lahart told the Herald that increasing parking costs will have a negative impact on those who cannot use alternative means of transport.

"Some of my constituents undergo medical treatment every day for weeks at a time and have to fork up very expensive parking charges, whether it's private or public," he said.

"Many pensioners who rely on social welfare also need their cars to get them to the post office if there is no other adequate means of transport.

"These are the types of people who will feel the burden of this parking charge hike more than anyone."

Mr Lahart argued there was no promotion of alternative ways to get into the city centre to justify the increase.

"You don't want people coming in their thousands in cars, but if you're going to charge extortionate parking fees then you have to implement some counter balancing measures," he said.

Priority

"DCC should be looking at better bike parking facilities and also better located bus stops because due to the Luas Cross City line, buses aren't bringing people as close to their destination as they used to."

Operations director at DublinTown Gerard Farrell said that while parking charges played a part in where people shop, the bigger issue was access.

"The big priority for our members is making sure that quality access to the city centre is maintained so that consumers aren't stuck in traffic for long periods of time," he said.

"No matter how you're getting into town, minimising congestion should be prioritised."

The price increase was approved by Dublin city councillors last February.

It was the first price increase since 2008.

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